CFP National Championship 2022: ESPN’s MegaCast Offers 4K Skycam, New Take on Film Room
Added resources in Indy and Bristol support alternative ways to consume games across the ESPN family
College Football Championship season means one thing: MegaCast season!
As ESPN positions itself to crown another College Football Playoff National Champion tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the broadcaster is set to deliver 13 presentations of the game to meet the taste of any college-football fan.
This marks the eighth year of the MegaCast concept for the College Football Championship game, and this version has many familiar items on the menu with some new twists. Besides the main game telecast airing on ESPN, fans will be able to watch five additional presentations across ESPN’s television networks, six more streaming on the ESPN App, and a 4K feed, which will be available exclusively to subscribers of Comcast, DirecTV, YouTube TV, and Verizon services.
Offerings include the ability to watch the game with alternate commentary — Spanish-language on ESPN Deportes, Hometown Radio calls from Alabama and Georgia radio announcers on SEC Network, the ESPN App — as well as from alternate angles, such as the AT&T 5G SkyCast on ESPNEWS (which gives viewers the ability to watch the game with the Skycam as the primary game angle) or the All-22 on the ESPN App.
One of the most notable changes can be seen in Film Room, a MegaCast option that, according to ESPN brass, has established itself as a fan favorite over the years. Airing on ESPN2, Film Room has traditionally featured multiple head coaches sitting together and analyzing the action in real time. This year, however, the show will feature a single head coach — Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher — and selected members of his coaching staff.
According to ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Ed Placey, ESPN loved the multiple-coaches format but believe that spotlighting a single coaching staff will offer a fresh dynamic that will actually lead to even more-insightful commentary.
“The opportunity to see how one single coaching staff works, what their staff dynamics are, how a head coach takes his own staff through the process of an authentic film session has been very intriguing to us,” says Placey, noting that the idea is one that his group has wanted to try out for many years. “When we’ve brought head coaches in from various programs, you’re talking about leaders among leaders. There was some apprehension to make sure they share the ball [equally]. That doesn’t exactly replicate what a coaching staff dynamic is, where there’s a leader that’s reaching out to individual coaches for their responses on how would they handle certain things or what their take was on [something].
“As we’ve learned about Jimbo Fisher’s sessions, he’s clearly the lead dog, and we want [Film Room] to be a relative duplication of what they do every Sunday after a game with their coaching staff in this same room, breaking down the film of one of their games. The only different wrinkle here is, it’s in the context of a live game. So our mission and our statement to them is, we want an authentic film-room experience, not a television show. We want to be a fly on the wall. When they’re in their space, we want it to be true to what their experience is, unaffected by TV.”
ESPN is sending a truck and small crew to College Station, TX, where the show will be produced from a meeting room at the Texas A&M football facility. ESPN college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek will be on set serving as an on-air host, but the plan, according to Placey, is for him to stay out of the way of the coaches’ banter and let them carry the show.
Meanwhile, for the data-hungry fan, Command Center is back on ESPNU. This option displays up to four windows of either camera feeds or graphics boxes to supplement the game coverage. ESPNEWS will carry the AT&T 5G SkyCast , which also features an alternate-commentary team of Anish Shroff and Kelly Stouffer, who will provide context out of commercial breaks before throwing back to the natural sounds of the game.
The lower of the two Skycams in the building is also outfitted with a 4K camera, which will be providing the 4K Skycam option to certain viewers depending on their cable package.